Chasing Yachts in the British Virgin Islands with Photographer George Kamper

Capturing a full photography and video library for The Moorings while sailing the British Virgin Islands sounds like a dream project, and it is, if you know how to handle it.    Who did you create these images for? This library of images was created for The Moorings Yacht Charters.   What type of direction did you get from the client?  The client played an important role for us. The goal was to shoot lifestyle images of both a couple and a young family experiencing chartering Moorings yachts in the British Virgin Islands. We shot both stills, video and drone footage. The client would suggest scenarios and wardrobe and we would come up with suggestions as to what we might shoot and then execute the scenarios.     What experience do you have with boating? Was this a factor for the client when they chose you for this project?  I grew up around boats and especially love being on and around the water. My dad was also a merchant marine captain, so we spent a lot of time on very large freighters. At 18, he strongly suggested I procure my “able bodied seaman’s’” license. I dive, sail, and love taking my passion for photography underwater. Being Greek I think we have an inherent love of being near and on the water. We currently live on the Intracoastal waterways along a canal in the “Venice of America” so we’re always on a boat. I can’t say for sure, but I think my previous underwater and yacht photography had to be the deciding factor for them, choosing someone with experience and who knows their way around boats and water-above, below, and in a drone.     How is shooting a library of images for a client different from shooting to a specific image layout? Not everyone is cut out for shooting libraries. We love doing it because it allows us to explore various scenarios and shoot more off the cuff than working from a tight layout. There weren’t any layouts on this, just suggestions that we brought to fruition. Creating artful libraries has become one of our fortes’. We shoot under, on and over the water and boat. We’re very adaptable and have a lot of tricks and knowledge that we bring to the experience. We keep it light and fun and we shoot fast so we don’t capture stale moments, but focus on authentic moments and having fun.   How many days did you have to shoot this campaign?  We were gone for a full week. 6 days on the water in the British Virgin Islands.   How much gear did you bring? We were on 4 sailing yachts. The largest was 60’ or so. That means you can’t bring every piece of gear under the sun due to tight quarters. We brought a Ronin Gimbal for the video, sticks, and shot with the 5D’s. We also brought reflectors, a few led panels, custom cube lights, as well as a drone for the overhead video. It’s a lot of fun, but that comes with challenges including customs, carnet’s, lugging gear, speaking the language of the country, as well as working with the crew and overcoming travel and weather related issues. The norm for any type of travel or boat related photography.   How many people on crew did you bring with you?  I knew I couldn’t bring my usual crew of 5-7 members because of the circumstances of shooting on a boat and travel expenses. I brought my essentials, my multifaceted crew of two. My long time lighting and digital tech Zach, who was also a second shooter once we had the general scene set up and who contributed quite a few strong images to the library and my wife Sherryl, who not only steps in as a model from time to time, but is a Production Assistant and helps with general styling, keeping track of wardrobe, props, makeup and hair.     Was it a challenge working within such tight moving spaces like a sailboat?  Most of the work we were doing was above deck so we had a blast and were able to find great angles for everything. My crew is also very experienced with boating life, so no one got seasick or dropped anything in the water!   What is the most important element on this type of shoot? It’s all about the light when you’re on the water. Shooting ship to ship, in beautiful light, is an opportunity to create amazing images. Partnering with a great crew who love every minute of the opportunity. Offering very strong support on the back end as well, we very often encounter a cloudy or rainy day that we transfix into a beautiful sunny experience in post. We don’t have the luxury of not shooting when we’re on a trip. We’re always shooting and there’s always a camera within reach. If you want real moments, you have to be willing to live in them, and I think that’s one of our strengths. We surpassed client expectations and the challenges of returning from rainy days and challenging moments by loving what we do!   Was it easier working with a real couple and a real family?  The couple was authentic, that was great. The family had worked together many times before, so the whole crew was super tight and still communicate frequently. The first print ads just came out and it was actually the models who notified us and were super excited about the ads. Really cool gatefolds in Yachting magazines.     What was the biggest challenge?  We really would have liked to have had more time to explore the islands and a little better weather. We had cloudy days for 3 of the 6 days, so we dropped in skies in many of the print ads. Weather is something, try as we might, that we just can’t seem to control. This is where we rely on our in-house expert retoucher, Christine to lend a hand. Replacing skies, creating clouds and lighting to match the scene, compositing images, swapping heads and taking out entire landmarks are something out of a sci-fi movie, but a necessity when it comes to working in the real world shooting on location for advertising.   How did you like working with a drone on a project like this?  We love shooting with the drone. Drones automatically offer you a new and often times unexplored perspective. In video, the moves and possibilities are endless.     Being a father yourself and having raised your own family around boating and the water have any influence on this project?  Well, we certainly know how to have a good time around the water and can quickly create real action and authentic scenarios for our shots based on our prior experiences with the kids. My wife Sherryl is also in several of the main shots and has been instrumental in helping with keeping it real, checking on make up and general support on these shoots.   How many final images did you deliver?  We delivered all the raws and 70 or so final retouched files for reproduction.   How were the final images used? Print Ads, The Moorings website and their Blog.   To see the more of my shoot with The Moorings please visit my website at GEORGEKAMPER.COM Follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

When Night Falls

Dark, mysterious, haunted even? Styled by Danny Santiago with unique pieces from local designers and shops, here is When Night Falls Venice Magazine and Photographer George Kamper had a different vision for the Bonnet House. What happens at night inside the Historic Bonnet House? The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens comes alive at night with dramatic headpieces and wickedly beautiful ensembles. Thank you Bonnet House Museum & Gardens Photographed for Venice Magazine Publisher: Carlos Suarez Editor: Nila Do Simon Photographer: George Kamper Model: Marina Z  Wardrobe Stylist: Danny Santiago Stylist Asst: Alfred J. Barrera Make up & Hair: Eddy de la Pena Digital Tech: Zach Scheffer Photo Asst: Felipe "Flip" Patino 2nd Asst: Huston Ochoa PA: Kasey McCauley Retoucher: Christine Craig Bonnet House Museum & Garden History Photo The Bonnet House was purchased by Hugh Taylor Birch and was given as a wedding present to his daughter Helen and her husband, Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1919. Helen tragically died only 5 years into construction but her husband eventually was remarried to Evelyn Fortune Lilly and they continued to build onto the unique architecture of the home, lavishly decorating the interior and creating the astonishing gardens around the home. Frederic died in 1953 but Evelyn continued to return each winter until 1983 when she gave The Bonnet House to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Her contribution-at the time, the largest charitable gift in Florida history-ensured that the site would be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations. Evelyn died shortly after at the age of 109. The Bonnet House is a now a Historical site and tourist destination in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

Into the Wild

A few things I learned about myself on this shoot. I love shooting fashion, it’s fun, challenging and a great opportunity to explore another side of my creativity. It’s also of the moment, so I can experiment and allow things to develop more so then on a commercial shoot. I also love to collaborate and I try to create an environment where anyone on our set can make suggestions and contribute. I like to take care of everyone that’s involved on our shoots. So I think about things like how the model is getting to the shoot in the morning, where’s she’s staying, having fans and liquids on set since we’re shooting in the summer heat in a state park. Bug spray, sun block, getting the model back to the airport in time and with a little chill time for herself, making sure everyone’s dietary needs are met, etc.. (I probably got this from my Mom, who was immersed in the restaurant bizz in NYC, ever since I can remember.) My “Editorial” images come with the full production of an Advertising Campaign. This can be good, because we end up with beautiful images, great lighting and finishing. And it can be bad, since the crew is usually working at an “Editorial” rate, usually half their normal rates to accommodate the magazine’s budget. I’m usually working for free as I try to accommodate my need for a higher production level, and that usually means dipping into my pocket to pay for things the magazine’s wont or can’t. I guess if I’m involved, I have to bring it. I get a thrill every time the model, stylist, or crew look into the monitor and say “Wow”!  For me, that’s pay off enough. I love working with a team, and I’m fortunate that I am supported by such a great group of professionals. This shoot really evolved from what could have been a photographer with a camera and a reflector to a full blow production. I have to applaud Birch State Park for all their support in this as well as Carlos Suarez, the Publisher of Venice magazine, for stepping up and flying in a great girl from NY, bringing in horses for our shoot, great catering, etc.. etc.. If you have 2 minutes please watch the BTS video and check out the credits at the end. We list all the crew, etc… I’d love to hear anyone’s feedback: If you like our fashion check out: 02_ThreeCloseUp_030_r1flatc1web 04_SittingInThree_213_r1flatc1web 05_RiverBed_059_r1flatc1web 06_BranchBridge_088_r1flatc1web 03_UpHigh_036_r1flatc1web 01_Three_070_r1flatc1web 08_HorseWalk_262_r1flatc1web 09_HorseLaying_007_r1flatc1web

George Kamper Shoots Tennis Star Caroline Wozniacki for The Sunday Times Magazine-London

I was excited to have the opportunity to photograph Caroline Wozniacki! I love the game of tennis and appreciate the discipline it takes to play any professional level sport. Caroline was an amazing person to photograph. As you’ll read below, we had very little time to achieve our seven shots at two locations. Caroline stepped up and gave us what we needed almost immediately! She knows what it takes to be a pro and I’m sure she’ll be #1 in the world again soon! Oh, and did I tell you she’s drop dead gorgeous!? I was also very happy to have had the opportunity to work with one of the distinguished editors from the London Times Magazine. I’ve been following their work and it’s always rewarding to see my work published internationally. In our conversations, mostly via email, I was given a few of the parameters of the shoot. The magazine gave us roughly seven images they would like to have shot, three on a tennis court, the rest in and around a pool. The shoot would take place within a two hour time span, on Easter Sunday in Miami, with a internationally ranked tennis star avoiding paparazzi and a writer who was being dispatched from London to interview Caroline immediately following our shoot. Additionally and quite common when working on editorials, there was a very tight budget. Along the way, we were sent a few sketches and a few photos to give us an idea of articles that had been published prior, as well as overall direction regarding wardrobe. carolinewozsketch   LONDONSUNDAYTIMES-CAROLINE1  


The first challenge we had to overcome were the locations. We needed an isolated tennis court so we could set up and control the lighting as well as have Caroline in a space she felt comfortable in, and that was away from onlookers. We also needed a pool area where we could control and secure privacy and that was very close to the first location. We didn’t have a lot of time for changing locations or money for paying location fees, motor-homes, etc... We also didn’t have time for moving in and out of hotels on Easter Sunday. We were very fortunate to have use of our Make Up artist’s residence and pool in South Beach. It worked out that it was only a few blocks away from a friend of her hubby’s, who had a tennis court! We were only allowed 2 hours for this shoot in total, as Caroline needed to be interviewed and catch a flight the same afternoon!

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A couple of additional challenges we had to overcome included our original wardrobe stylist finding out that after she had accepted this project and spoken to the editor, received last minute notification that she had two weeks to move out of her home. The same week of our shoot! Sometimes what feels like a bad situation can turn into an opportunity. I had been talking about and researching a new wardrobe stylist that was doing great work so fortunately and with the help of her Agent she was able to jump in and not skip a beat. I greatly appreciate both of you- Katherine Lande, an amazing wardrobe stylist as well as her agent and friend, Carole Ann Belle of Belle & Co. I also have to give a great big Thank you to Leslie Munsell, our go to make up stylist. She not only hooked us up with the locations, but when the hair artist showed up late, Leslie stepped in and took care of things! Thank you Leslie, you somehow manage to make my life better on every shoot!

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I rely on a top team of professionals for both my Advertising as well as my editorial work. I know and appreciate that every time we do an editorial, they are all kicking in part of their well-deserved fees to help me out on a shoot that has a challenging budget and usually difficult timing! You can catch the Behind the Scenes video and credits below. Many thanks to Christine Craig, my retoucher and editor, for always doing amazing work!  

Behind the Scenes!


Shooting out West: A Personal Project

077Rev1_EQ_Spring_2015_Kamper_gallery.pdf-1 Growing up in Brooklyn, New York and working in the heart of New York City at the age of 14, left me with a comfort zone being around people, the streets of NY and the intense pace of life in the city. I began my career working for my Mom at Nathan’s Famous on 43rd and Broadway in New York City. Traveling into the city after school and on weekends by bus and subway and walking up and down 42nd street to get to the bus terminal (prior to 42nd St. being sanitized) was eye opening for a 14 year old.  I’ve always loved observing and there was no better place to watch and document the world go by than New York City . I remember “borrowing” with my Dad’s Argus camera and returning it to its place before he’d get home. 077Rev1_EQ_Spring_2015_Kamper_gallery.pdf-2 I’ve had a fascination with the West for years and have been seeking and creating opportunities to create personal work in that environment. The West inspires me. I’ve lived in cities my entire life, so it’s a huge visual treat to be in such beautiful open territory. I suppose it’s a combination of the color palette, the light and the vast openness. I admire the life of cowboys and the connection they have with their horses. It’s kind of like the connection I have with my Harley on a road trip. Shooting this type of personal project allows me to capture an inspired authenticity in the moment, I don’t project myself into the scene or direct. It’s inspiring to forget about everything else and become the lens for a few moments. 077Rev1_EQ_Spring_2015_Kamper_gallery.pdf-4 The Tanque Verde Ranch Personal Project came together when I found out  that EQ Magazine, where I am the photography director, had been invited to come out to Arizona to attend  a press junket for a  couple  of days along with several other editors. I reached out to our Editor and requested to go along for the ride and they accepted. I was fortunate to have most of my expenses covered by the gracious folks at Tanque Verde, and I picked up my incidental travel and meal expenses. Since I now had a dual role of producing images for the magazine as well as for myself, I decided to shoot my personal work early in the mornings before the group gathered for their first scheduled event.   077Rev1_EQ_Spring_2015_Kamper_gallery.pdf-3   I approach my personal work and client work a little differently in that I take the “fly on the wall” approach to personal work and impose myself very little, versus directing and controlling my commercial work to guarantee the client comes away with what they need. Both approaches have treated me well, and I’m hoping more clients can appreciate the “Let’s get out there and see what transpires” approach. 090REV3_EQ_Spring_2014_TanqueVerd.pdf-1   I post most of personal projects on Facebook, Instagram, Behance, Workbook, Tumblr, etc..  Every once in a while I’ll post a commercial gig. I also submit my work to various blogs. I’ve been fortunate that clients appreciate my personal work and refer to it when discussing an assignment. The Tanque Verde shoot took on it’s own life at EQ, as the editor and publisher decided to run a featured multi page gallery of my personal images in the magazine and the EQ Website. They also had a separate story that included images I shot for the editorial.

Tanque Verde Gallery (Assignment Images)


Letter From the Editor

  010Rev1_EQ_Spring_2014_letter.pdf-1   To see more of George Kamper's West Images go here. To see more of the Tanque Verde Ranch go here. I also had the opportunity to shoot Equestrian Polo Star and Model Nic Roldan for the Cover and Inside Story of this seasons Equestrian Quarterly.       001_Rev3_EQ_Spring_2015.pdf-2   040Rev3_EQ_Spring_2015_nic.pdf-1040Rev3_EQ_Spring_2015_nic.pdf-4 040Rev3_EQ_Spring_2015_nic.pdf-2 040Rev3_EQ_Spring_2015_nic.pdf-3

Equestrian Quarterly  l  Spring 2015

To see more of George Kamper's Equestrian Images click here.

When Life Gives you Lemons, make sweet films.

See what George Kamper comes up with when he and his family are forced to leave their home the day after Thanksgiving. George Kamper didn’t allow a full blown flood in his South Florida home and a forced move to a hotel for almost two months to stop him from turning a bad situation to his advantage. “I couldn’t believe it when the plumber told us there was a broken pipe in the wall and that there was water seeping under our cherry hardwood floors the day after Thanksgiving! Watching the restoration team come in and tear out huge sections of solid cherry flooring while others razor cut four foot sections of beautifully customized sponge painted  plaster walls,  was almost more then we could take. IMG_3855 IMG_3642 In the aftermath with floors torn up and glue exposed, the fumes were overwhelming and we started to feel sick. I approached the insurance adjuster and explained the situation, which allowed us to move to a hotel (Some additional negotiation was required to move to a resort on the water, in the height of the winter season, on Ft. Lauderdale’s beach). We were able to find a suite that could accommodate the family, (George, Sherryl and two kids-Nick and Alex), with the additional benefit of a killer view. The down side was that at the time, we were going to have to move out of the hotel the day before Christmas with nowhere to go and without having any improvement on the house. What would any self respecting photographer do in this situation…. Shoot, shoot, shoot. IMG_3963 “I was in awe of the view we had and thought stills were great, but I wanted to tell a story, I came up with two time-lapse pieces and several sunrise shots as well as a series of images around the hotel to use as trade for additional room time and credit at the Tiki Bar. I’d run back to the house every morning and try to work by an open window, feed the cats, check on the status of the repairs, then get back to the hotel to make sure the family was good and hope to grab some shots. On the weekends I’d set up the cameras before dawn and shoot. Attached are the time-lapses from our stay in room 916 and a couple of photos of work in progress. All in all, we’re thrilled with the videos as well as the final outcome of the new floors and walls at our home.  

Beauty and the Reef with Photographer George Kamper

I’m often awed by personal projects my advertising photographer peers shoot.  I’ve seen fashion shooters display documentary images shot in Nicaragua, still life guys shoot action and sports at the Olympics…And often, I’m more enamored by their personal work. Being an advertising photographer has been a wonderful journey for me throughout the years. I’ve been fortunate to travel around the world and meet some interesting people along the way. I’ve been producing personal work since the beginning of my career. It’s especially rewarding to have the opportunity to produce images with my vision and the support of a great benefactor or client. I’ve been a scuba diver, lifeguard, lover of swimming pools and the water ever since I can remember. I also love a good challenge and often, I’m the guy the agency calls when there’s a challenge that needs a creative approach and solution due to a difficult environment, logistics or tight budget. A year or so ago, I came up with the idea to shoot some underwater imagery. Not of fish and coral, but of people, playing sports, fashion, or dancing. I hadn’t yet decided what the final scenarios might be, first I had to do my homework. Shooting stills underwater sounds easy. Grab your Go Pro, jump in the ocean or pool, and there ya go!  Well, that may be  true for some, I wanted to shoot a story with higher quality, more thought out, with an awe factor that would leave people asking how were these done?  And, at the end of the day, I wanted to end up with a stunning and unique series of images! Crew_190web I faced several challenges, most importantly; I had to come up with an idea that hadn’t been overdone. Though I love long flowy fashion, and how it looks when shot underwater, it’s been done. I wanted my shots to be more than that.  I wanted the images to have an organic quality and not feel cliché’. I came up with the idea to shoot underwater wrecks coupled with dancers, athletes, or to create a lifestyle situation on the wrecks with models. Once I came up with the general direction, I handled this shoot just like I do my advertising shoots. I began by doing extensive research, homework, and practice. Crew_243web First I had to learn to shoot underwater, with and without tanks and diving gear, in a pool and in the ocean. I needed to practice in the environment with camera housings that were new to me and of course, I needed a muse that would be willing to put up with me. As I do on most of my shoots in one capacity or another, I tapped my wife to pose for me and a neighbor to allow us to shoot in their pool. Here’s a couple of my “practice shots” utilizing my wife Sherryl, my always willing muse. GK_UnderwaterTestSK0078_r2flatweb GK_UnderwaterTestSK0241_r1flatWEB Secondly, I had to come up with a way to gain access to underwater wrecks and procure the gear needed to shoot them. I also realized the wrecks were in water over 100’ deep in some instances. To prolong my dive time safely, I needed to get Nitrox certified along the way. I wanted a great fashion stylist with access to interesting wardrobe and props. Both props and wardrobe would be subjected to saltwater or chlorine, which could potentially ruin them. We needed great make up and hair and knew this would be a major factor to contend with, both for aesthetic and technical reasons. Additionally, I needed talent that would be good with holding their breath, opening their eyes underwater and acting naturally while contending with being in the water for prolonged periods of time. Crew_117web After a year of homework, gathering the right gear, testing in pools and the ocean, I had the opportunity I’d been looking for. I was asked by an editorial client if I’d be interested in photographing members of the Miami City Ballet for an editorial UNDERWATER. We had talked about doing an underwater fashion story in the past, but I wanted it to be more then girls swishing around in gowns.  I presented the publisher and editor with my idea and a couple of practice shots of my wife, combined with the wrecks. They loved the direction, and we were on! I knew that the dancers could give me the right form I was looking for and that they are very disciplined with control of their bodies, but I had no idea if they could work in the water. I followed up with them sending over a “How to Guide” to holding your breath for longer periods of time, and asked them to read up and practice. The day of the shoot finally arrived, I had decided to shoot the wrecks prior to the dancers, keeping in mind how I would like to position the dancers in post. I decided that shooting the dancers in a pool in Miami, and editing them into the wrecks, would be the safest way of producing this. Additionally, we had a very small editorial budget to work with. Hiring all the support services I would need to get my dancers 100’ down and onto a wreck in the ocean, while safely posing, wasn’t the right approach in this instance. Even so, shooting around and under the water is not very forgiving. Every aspect has to be thought out as little mistakes can exponentially grow and become major issues. Our shoot came off seamlessly. We used the sun as our main source throughout the day with strategically placed reflectors to maintain an organic consistent look to match what we were getting in the ocean on the wrecks. I take my hat off to my retoucher Christine Craig, who is much more a partner in vision, than a retoucher. We’ve been working together for over five years, mostly over the shared networked internet tunnel we have created so we can each see what the other is working on in real time.  She’s lived in various locations around the northeast since she started as my intern in Miami and has since settled in SC. Christine had been excited by the idea of shooting underwater from day one. We did research and tests to come up with the best approach to match our vision. She’s the kind of girl that doesn’t give up easily and every time I challenged her, she exceeded my expectations. I’m lucky to have her and so are my clients. Shot_04_014_r2flatweb Shot_08_053_r1flatweb Shot_10_095_r3flatweb UW_Wreck_SeaEmperor_3_9_14_0175_r1web UW_Wreck_SeaEmperor_3_9_14_0183_r1flatweb UW_Wreck_Tracy,-KenVitale_3_2_14_0085_r1web UW_WreckCastor_-4_15_14_0028_r2PRINTWEBI started this as a personal project and I was fortunate to have it evolve into an editorial that came with support from the magazine and amazing talent. The editor on set was wonderful and took care of the crew, talent, and politics. The dancers were enthusiastic and very willing to jump through hoops to make this happen. My support staff worked for free or a small stipend, they believed in the idea and wanted to be part of creating some cool and unique images. I take my Hat off for all involved, Thank you! Crew_274web